JUPITER, Fla. – Former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made an appearance at camp Thursday, the same day the club announced contract extensions for both manager Mike Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak.
La Russa, who now works for Major League Baseball, was in town with umpire Ed Rapuano to discuss rules changes for the 2013 season with the Cardinals coaching staff.
“It was good seeing him, it always is,” Matheny said. “He always keeps his door open so I can get an opportunity to catch up with him and pick his brain.”
Among the rules changing this year is the elimination of pitchers faking a pickoff throw to third before looking or throwing the ball to first. The tactic, which rarely worked anyway, will now be considered a balk.
Matheny was asked about having to replace a legend in La Russa, who retired just days after leading the Cardinals to the 2011 World Series Championship.
“It’s a lot like these guys coming in as players, they don’t really need to set their bar on what something else has done in their position,” Matheny said. “Come in and do what you do. Be true to yourself. I’m more interested on these other guys and figure out how to take care of them the best you know how and with that comes the responsibility to learn more and to know.
“I’m still trying to put myself around people like Tony and others that can teach me more and the more I know the better I can serve these guys.”
La Russa will also be visiting with the Florida Marlins while in town.
The Cardinals and Marlins share the Roger Dean Stadium complex each spring.